I went to the first garage sales of the season this weekend. Ahhh. That long winter without my saling fix has been hard. Oh, sure, there was the occasional indoor flea market, but it’s just not the same. Nope. There’s something about looking in the classified section, marking the sales, getting cash in your pocket, and heading out with your morning coffee, in search of treasures. When I moved to Minnesota, I learned that some folks call it g’raging, pronounced as two syllables, and now that’s how I say it. There are lots of names for it: rummage sale, garage sale, yard sale, and just plain sale. No matter what you call it, it all boils down to the same process…g’raging. And in my years of g’raging, I have grown to be sort of picky about it.
You see, there is much more to having a garage sale than just tossing some extra stuff on a card table, and waiting for folks to come along and pay you money for it. But I have been to many sales where it appears that that is exactly what the people having the sale thought it was all about. Oh, no…there is much more to consider.
First, there is the selection of the date and time of your sale. You want to have it when you will get the most traffic, so you can get rid of all of the stuff you’ve decided to part with. And you want to have hours long enough to make it easy for the working folks to be able to stop by. I also have great respect for those who are willing to be ready to open early…none of this leisurely start at nine stuff. And if your sign or ad says your sale runs 3 days, for certain hours, PLEASE be sure to stick to that. There’s nothing worse than driving a distance to a sale that is closed up early because someone got tired of sitting there peddling their unwanted goods.
Speaking of driving a distance to a sale, I must also talk a bit about signage. Signage is perhaps one of your biggest responsibilities. Don’t treat it lightly. Signs need to be clear, large, and easy to read. If you take a sheet of notebook paper, and write on it with a Bic pen, no one will see it from the road. It’s also nice if they are consistent in their color or what they say, so those of us that are following the trail know we’re on the right track. With so many sales, and so many signs, sometimes you can lose the scent of the sale you’re tracking, if the signs are all different. Also, putting your signs where we can see them, IN ADVANCE of a turn, is really helpful. Remember, we are speeding down the road, anxious to get to your sale…we might miss a turn with no warning.
And here’s a personal pet peeve. If you are just selling baby clothes, PLEASE say that in your ad, and on your signs. For those of us not interested in the toddler wear, it is extremely frustrating to drive a distance on a winding, muddy road, only to find tables filled with onesies and miniature dresses, shoes and pants. The sale I went to yesterday actually put in their ad, “No baby clothes.” YAY for them!!
It would also be great if you make sure what you are selling is clean, and able to be used. We’ve all been to the sale where a relative, who has obviously been a hoarder, dies and the family drags all of their stuff out on the lawn the night before the sale. And then it rains on everything, and they go on with the sale anyway. And everything has that musty smell to it, and is sort of sticky from years of storage around the house. Not cool. And I always feel bad for the one who has died, and now all of their stuff is exposed to the world in that sort of condition…how sad.
And, last, but not least, if you do only have a little card table full of stuff, you probably should wait until you have gathered more stuff to sell, or combine forces with a neighbor, so your sale is full, and junque is plentiful. I’ve been to sales where it looks like the sweet, elderly lady of the house has picked up the 7 items that were in her kitchen junk drawer, and laid them on her 1946 card table, and called it a garage sale, because, after all, the card table WAS in the garage.
Watch for a future post on the art of going to sales and finding hidden treasure.